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Student Debt Equal to Cost of 53 Stadiums

Otago University Students’ Association

Official Media Release

9 April 2008.

Attention: Education Reporters, Political Reporters



Student Debt Equal to Cost of 53 Stadiums

This Thursday the 10th of April will see total student debt in New Zealand hit $10 Billion dollars.  

Student debt is now so large that it could be used to buy 53 new Stadiums for Dunedin.  

Much student debt is tied up in living allowances: students are the only sector in society forced to borrow in order to live.

Students at Otago University are marking the event with a protest on the Registry Lawn. The protest will run from 12pm – 2pm and will take the form of a massive birthday party for the Student Debt Monster. As well as a variety of party related activities - including free food and a horizontal bungy - students can register their protest by completing a birthday card with their name, year of study and student loan debt. These cards will be sent to the Parliamentary offices of Pete Hodgson, the Minister for Tertiary Education.

“We want to show the Minister that student debt isn’t just a number on a spreadsheet to us, debt is affecting the lives and futures of real people” said Otago University Students’ Association President (OUSA) Simon Wilson.

The average student in tertiary study in 2007 owed $28,838 to the government, banks and other loan providers.

Wilson describes this amount as “staggering, we are placing a very heavy burden on 19 and 20 year olds who are about to start their working lives.”

OUSA, with other student associations around the country, is calling for the introduction on a universal living allowance for all students.

Wilson argues that; “It’s time to abandon a system which is forcing our best and brightest to mortgage their futures just so they can pay their rent. The Government needs to stop making small ineffectual changes and introduce a living allowance for all students.”



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